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Legal experts weigh in on the consequences of Trump testifying in criminal trial


Florida – Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, is facing several criminal cases, ranging from federal investigations related to the January 6 Capitol attack, hush-money payments, and the handling of classified documents.

Legal experts weigh in on the consequences of Trump testifying in criminal trial

As the jury selection process makes headway in the New York trial of former President Donald Trump, the stage is being set for what promises to be a series of high-stakes testimonies. To date, seven jurors have been selected for a trial that will scrutinize Trump’s involvement in falsifying business records and a hush money scheme. Notable figures such as Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, and former Trump White House counselor Hope Hicks are expected to testify, raising the anticipation for explosive courtroom revelations.

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The Dilemma of Trump Testifying

The possibility of Trump testifying in his own defense is laden with risks. His former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, expressed strong reservations about the former president taking the stand. Speaking to Politico, Cohen emphasized Trump’s tendency to fabricate, stating, “Donald does not know how to tell the truth. He’s lied so many times that he cannot keep track of the lies. And one lie begets another lie. He would be putting himself into a perjury trap by taking the stand.”

Ray Brescia, a legal scholar and associate dean at Albany Law School, echoes this sentiment in a recent op-ed. Brescia outlines the predicament Trump would face if he decides to testify: “Trump’s serial incorrigibility, hair-trigger temper, and penchant for — shall we say — stretching the truth all make him any defense attorney’s nightmare as a witness.”

The Risks of Testifying

Trump’s testimony would not only be voluntary but perilous. As the defendant, he could choose to remain silent or to take the stand. However, opting to testify means opening himself up to cross-examination by prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr.’s office, which could exacerbate his legal troubles.

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Brescia points out the lose-lose scenario Trump would encounter by testifying: “What we know from Trump’s recent track record of providing testimony under oath, it hasn’t worked out great for him,” adding that, “Once the jury is sworn in, the evidence it will hear sounds like it could be quite bad for Mr. Trump.”

The Consequences of Silence

Choosing not to testify carries its own set of challenges. Brescia warns, “Failing to testify could leave the evidence unanswered,” which might suggest guilt in the eyes of the jury. He predicts a dire scenario if Trump does decide to testify: “A cornered Trump — fighting for his freedom — will face devastating evidence and withering cross-examination, with the stakes as high as they can be.”

Whether Trump chooses to testify or not, he is in a precarious position that could dramatically impact the outcome of the trial. The unfolding events in the courtroom will likely capture the nation’s attention as the trial progresses, shedding light on the intricate details of a case that could define Trump’s legal and political legacy.

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